From the New York Times Magazine:
This year, like all years, brought the deaths of many notable people. Among them were Rosa Parks, Pope John Paul II, William H. Rehnquist, Saul Bellow, Peter Jennings, Eugene J. McCarthy, August Wilson, Hans Bethe and Richard Pryor. The year 2005 was also marked by the 2,000th death of a member of the American armed forces in Iraq and of an untold number of Iraqi civilians. Violence, both man-made and natural – especially the earthquake in South Asia that killed some 70,000 – claimed thousands upon thousands of lives around the world.
This 12th annual end-of-the-year issue does not purport to be definitive. Instead, it is an idiosyncratic selection, one driven primarily by the whims, interests and passions of the magazine’s editors and writers. Some names, like Sandra Dee, Frank Perdue, Luther Vandross, Rose Mary Woods and Constance Baker Motley, are probably familiar. Others are less well known: Elizabeth McFarland Hoffman, the poetry editor of Ladies’ Home Journal; Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Tony the Tiger; Joseph Frelinghuysen, whose unlikely escape as a prisoner of war during World War II was made possible by a generous and courageous Italian family; and Lawrence Celestine, a New Orleans police officer who took his own life shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit. Through stories, ideas and images, we seek to capture the lives they lived.